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National leaks again

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, October 15th, 2018 - 107 comments
Categories: labour, Simon Bridges - Tags:

I get the impression that within National’s ranks civil war is erupting.

The leaking is getting worse.  There have been three significant leaks this year:

  1. Newshub’s disclosure that the numbers were being done on Bill English.  Two weeks later he was gone.
  2. Newshub’s disclosure of Simon Bridges’s travel expenses.  Admittedly this should not have been such a big deal but his handling of the issue has meant that it has become very serious, possibly career threatening.
  3. And this morning Newshub’s disclosure that elements within National’s caucus wants Bridges gone and with details of poor polling and a botched electoral return which suggests that funding from the Exclusive Brethren may have been received by him.

Anyone see a pattern?

From Newshub:

As the investigation into his expenses leak nears its end, The AM Show host Duncan Garner has revealed more from within the National Party.

Garner told viewers and listeners on Monday morning internal polling by the party has Mr Bridges’ favourability rating at negative 25 percent.

“This is all nonsense,” Mr Bridges responded. “The reality is the National Party is in great shape. We’re the most popularly supported political party in New Zealand under my leadership… I feel great about what I’m doing. Every day I get up I’m positive about my job.”

Garner said over the weekend he had “contacts” within National telling him Mr Bridges had to go.

“It’s not the truth,” said Mr Bridges. “The reality is I’ve got an incredibly strong caucus that is behind [me], we’re working hard, we’re holding the Government to account… I feel like we’re doing a great job in Opposition. We’re one year in, we’re getting great hits on the Government.”

Another party insider revealed to Garner Mr Bridges’ election returns were handed in late after amendments were made. Two donations – one of $10,000, another of $14,000 – were initially recorded on Mr Bridges’ own return, but removed and placed on the National Party’s return instead.

Ha.  I have covered this sort of behaviour on the part of National in the past where it “converted” a Donghua Liu donation from a party donation to an electorate donation for Jami-Lee Ross, basically to avoid the embarrassment of having to disclose it at the time that Maurice Williamson was fired from cabinet.

Bridges says that his return was a mistake.  I presume he is correct.

But it appears there is something called Cathedral Club.  I presume this is the same thing as Cabinet Club which was National’s fundraising washing mechanism from a few years ago.  Cabinet Club’s name was presumably changed because the allegation was made that it was access to Cabinet Ministers for donations.

Again from Newshub:

The $10,000 donation came from ‘Cathedral Club’. Mr Bridges refused to talk about who that was.  According to blog posts by National-aligned pollster David Farrar and far-right blogger Cameron Slater, Cathedral Club appears to be bimonthly dinner featuring speakers from the political world. Both men imply attendees aren’t meant to reveal the details of conversations that take place at such meetings.

And the Exclusive Brethren has reappeared as a funder and supporter of National.  Again from Newshub:

The larger donation came from Cubro Ltd, which Mr Bridges said was a healthcare business in Tauranga. Garner revealed the owners are also members of the Exclusive Brethren, a religious sect who controversially spent more than $1 million of their own money trying to get National elected in 2005. Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men detailed how the National Party worked with the Brethren behind the scenes, while publicly denying it.

Mr Bridges said he didn’t know the company had Brethren links, even though he’s been to the company’s premises.

I concluded earlier that cabinet club or cathedral club donations are collected centrally, recorded in the party’s annual return and then distributed out to the local electorates.  Putting it on Bridges’ return was pretty sloppy.

This is further embarrassment for Bridges.  I suspect that he is starting to develop a nervous twitch at the mention of the word leak.  How he handles the release of the leak inquiry this week will be a real test.  If the rumours are correct he will have a major mess to deal with.  And a caucus that is turning feral on him.

107 comments on “National leaks again ”

  1. Cinny 1

    Re the donations listed incorrectly…..when in doubt, call it a clerical error and blame the admin staff, that’s how a bad boss rolls.

    Fun fact, admin staff check and double check important work, if errors are spotted they usually go directly to the boss to clarify it, as it’s their neck on the line.
    Write it like this the boss says…. ummm but it’s wrong says admin….oh that’s ok says the boss, no one will pick it up…. and when you do as instructed, even if it’s the wrong instructions what happens when someone else spots the error…. admin gets the blame, even if they have followed the bosses instructions to the letter.

    see ya simon.

    Side note… I wonder if the next preferred PM poll will have Winston on a higher percentage than simon.

    • Almost a foregone conclusion.

      And while Soimon was a wee nipper in nappies, – both Winston Peters and Jim Anderton were the only really stiff opposition to the neo liberal cabal. And not once did they cave. Also ,- Mr Peters was a successful Foreign Minister at a critical time and was widely held in esteem here and overseas. As well as being an equally successful Deputy PM and Acting PM under this govt.

      What has Soimon ever done but rant like a two year old as he did on Campbell Live that time… and about a leak of information that was to be disclosed in three days anyway… what a plonker.

  2. chris73 2

    Well the better play from National would be to let Bridges stumble on for another year to year and a half and then install a new leader

    That way the new leader can be seen to be a fresh, new start and still have enough time left for everyone to forget about the previous leader

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I get the feeling this is a race between the release of the leak inquiry result and the toppling of Bridges as leader.

    • Gosman 2.2

      You mean do a Jacinda?

      • chris73 2.2.1

        Yeah sort of, like bring in a new, fresh face and then voters can compare it to the previous leader and if the previous leader wasn’t liked (and Bridges isn’t) then the new leader will probably get a decent bump

        Plus the later you do it the less time voters have to see if the new leader is up to it or not so I’d advise National not to panic and hold fire until later in the election cycle

        I’d also advise them to keep on undermining NZFirst support (ie gun rights and Thar hunts) and keep reiterating that a vote for NZFirst is a vote for Labour because NZFirst only have to lose a couple of percent and they’ll be out

      • Gabby 2.2.2

        Who’s their Jacinda gozzer? Who d’you reckon could best fake empathy?

        • Gosman 2.2.2.1

          Jacinda’s strength is not empathy. It is charisma. In fact when when she attempts empathy it comes across badly (in my opinion). In relation to National party rivals I would have argued Nikki Kaye until quite recently. However they might not go for a Jacinda like figure. It may very well be time to roll out “The Crusher”. She would at least make a stark contrast with Jacinda and could score some hits.

    • Robert Guyton 2.3

      “Well the better play from National would be to let Bridges stumble on for another year to year and a half”
      Chris73, have you considered what that will do to National’s credibility and reputation? Don’t you think New Zealanders will become a little disenchanted with a party that “stumbles on (and on and on)”?
      In any case, moot point, it’ll be over soon.

      • chris73 2.3.1

        I have considered it and I think the party support will still be there so its worth the gamble. Bring in a new leader too soon and you risk losing the momentum a new leader can bring.

        • Robert Guyton 2.3.1.1

          Leave Bridges in and have the rest of National’s caucus paint on their happy, wouldn’t hurt a fly faces every morning? People are feeling the vibe and it ain’t something the Beach Boys would sing about.

          • chris73 2.3.1.1.1

            Yeah but after hes gone he’ll be forgotten rather quickly so give the new leader 6 months to a year and it’ll be game on

          • Gosman 2.3.1.1.2

            Was that meant to be some kind of joke Robert?

            • WILD KATIPO 2.3.1.1.2.1

              No but National and Bridges have become one.

              • chris73

                You’re half right, Nationals on 45% so not a joke at all

                • With no support party’s so no cigar there , either…

                  • chris73

                    No cigar but not a joke either and if NZFirst stays below the threshold (they’re currently on 3.3%) by National targeting NZFirst then the next election could get very interesting indeed

                    • Always looks fine on paper but when elections happen we all know that generally the main party’s rise above the polls ratings. And esp NZ First , – soars past the 5% threshold needed. And it appears they’ve ( National ) already tried to target NZ First’s leader and that turned out to be a real embarrassment for them…

                      And they still lost.

                      And they haven’t got any friends. They’ve blown it with Peters repeatedly , Peters doesn’t like the far right elements in National, and he certainly doesn’t take kindly to the kind of snide comments made from that party about him. And so National , again, will be cigar – less.

                    • chris73

                      They do soar in except for when they don’t (1999 and 2008) However I’d suggest that in 2017 a large percentage of their votes were from right leaning voters wanting NZFirst to “reign in” National so theres quite a few NZFirst supporters that won’t be pleased with the way Winston went so they’ll either vote National or they won’t vote at all so unless NZFirst can win an electorate seat we might not see them back again

                    • Tricledrown

                      So wouldn’t it be a better strategy to build Bridges with nz first rather than destroy them.

                    • chris73

                      If Winstons in charge then no its a waste of time but if Winstons not in charge and someone else is then yes definitely

                    • Kevin

                      If I remember correctly the polling taken of the NZF voters post election showed a comfortable majority of them wanting Winnie to go with Labour.

                    • chris73

                      They are currently polling 3.3% and while its a long ways to go any missing voters is hugely detrimental in that situation

        • Liberal Realist 2.3.1.2

          chris73 do you really think the Nats have the sort of patience required to sit it out? Somehow I doubt it! Anyway I like your strategy – Bridges is the gift that keeps on giving…

          As for a new leader for the Nats, who do you think that might be? From where I sit their leadership talent ‘pool’ is as shallow as a puddle, and that shallow puddle evaporates rapidly with a few minutes of sunlight!

  3. Gosman 3

    Why do people have a problem with the Exclusive Brethren giving donations to political parties and/or candidates? They are not breaking any laws here.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      You will have to ask National that. They went to extreme steps to deny that they were receiving help and assistance from EB in 2005.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        2005 is not 2017. The electoral finance laws are different for one thing. Simon Bridges explanation for receiving the funds is completely understandable. He does not care about the religious denomination of people or organisations that give donations. Do you think he should?

        • cleangreen 3.1.1.1

          Gosman,

          We all know you are a died in the wool tory but you even have to now realise that Simon Bridges is a loser; – period!!!!

          He talks fumbling and in-coherent and without a forceful character much like a Sunday school teacher.

          So bloody UN-inspiring he his and so bloody boring ‘to boot’.

          it was mooted that Mark Mitchell is about to show his bid to take over the Natioal party soon. https://markmitchell.national.org.nz/

          • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1

            I don’t vote National nor think Simon Bridges is an effective leader of that party so don’t see how you can claim I’m a ‘died (sic) in the wool tory (sic)’. I actually called Bridge’s an idiot on on this very site shortly after he became National leader.

            • Ngungukai 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Leave Bridges in place, National will get hammered in the 2020 Election, then start off fresh after the 2020 Election, with a fresh new face ?

            • Tricledrown 3.1.1.1.1.2

              You speak out of both sides gosman.
              You are aping Mathew Hooton.
              Trying to have a bet both ways.
              When you claim you are an ACT supporter/Fringe lunatic political science 101?

            • cleangreen 3.1.1.1.1.3

              Bugger I missed that point Ngungukai, 100%

              Sorry for calling you a ‘died in the wool tory’ Gosman,

              We hope you are more like we are a self thinker that selectively prefers any party going forward to give us all a go, as NZF/Labour combo seem to be going forward as plotting.

              They are making mistakes, and i jump on them for their errors as well and we should always be watching their actions.

              A professor of a University in ‘New England” (Boston) once i remember sat on a beach in (St Johns( on the Virgin Islands talking to our family in 1987 about preserving our democracy and he said “The price of freedom and democracy is constant vigilance” he said one of the founding presidents used that phrase.

              So we do a public service by keeping a ‘constant vigilance’ eye on politicians no matter the party they are.

          • mary_a 3.1.1.1.2

            Cleangreen (3.1.1.1) … well I guess ex mercenary Mitchell expecting to make a bid for Bridges job, is a good fit for Natz.

            • cleangreen 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes mary_A

              Mark Mitchell is ex military and was apparently also a ”mercenary” (hired gun) too!!!!!!

              Takes me back to the movie “Shane” and Bridges was a weakling farmer when the hired gun (Jack Palance) came to town and gunned down a slow gun drawing sheep farmer.

              Shane ‘number two’ coming along soon.

              Here is a likeness of Simon Bridges walking into his trap.

    • Cinny 3.2

      bretho’s don’t let their parish vote, but they are happy to donate the parishioners money to a political party in an attempt to influence government. Kind of a contradiction.

      Ironic in a way, maybe the votes would help more than the money.

      • woodart 3.2.1

        its exceptionally hypocritical ,and immoral to deny your flock voting rights, then use the dosh fleeced off them to try and buy political influence. wars have been fought (and won) over this sort of shonky behaviour…

    • Delia 3.3

      They do not vote but are seen as helping fund the party they regard as the most socially conservative in NZ, compared with Labour. I could care less, but this is why it has been commented on in the past.

      • Gosman 3.3.1

        That is their right. There is nothing wrong about it. It might be odd but frankly if oddness precluded people giving donations there would be a fair few left wingers that would be included in that group.

        • Robert Guyton 3.3.1.1

          I think it’s wonderful that the Exclusive Brethren are again in the news for their behind-the-scenes involvement with the National Party.

          • Gosman 3.3.1.1.1

            So you just care that it is perceived to be a bad thing rather than whether or not it is one.

            • Gabby 3.3.1.1.1.1

              It’d be easier to determine that if it were a bit less behind the scenes wouldn’t it gozzer.

            • WILD KATIPO 3.3.1.1.1.2

              May have more to do with their name… ‘Exclusive Brethren’.

              As such they are not known for being particularly open to others and differ from many churches in they are directly ‘ political’ and influence behind the scenes whereas most churches are apolitical , do not usually advise their congregations on who they should vote for , and certainly are more open / honest about where their donations go to.

              Hence the book ‘ The Hollow Men ‘ .

            • bwaghorn 3.3.1.1.1.3

              What s good about a bunch of drunken bible thumpers who are into woman repression funding a brought and paid for political party??

    • AB 3.4

      People are judged by the company they keep.
      Though I am not all surprised that a far right, authoritarian, patriarchal cult with a record of splitting families has a preference for the National Party.
      Mere legality is not a sufficient test of what is right and wrong – I’m aware you are smart enough to know this, but also partisan enough to overlook it when it’s convenient to do so.

    • Tricledrown 3.5

      Gosman the Exclusive Brethren were prosecuted for money laundering aus$88 million dollars for use in political influencing some of which was used to fund the National Party.
      The exclusive Bretherton have a child sexual abuse rate of 27%, more than 2x the Catholic Church 4 1/2 times the General population.
      A Cult whose leaders have links to white supremacist groups in the US.
      Women are subjugated marriages arranged.
      If you want to leave the cult your assets are withheld.
      Maybe you should join Gosman sounds like your cup of tea Woops they have very high rates of alcoholism as well.
      National moral high ground is a natural fit
      Don Brashes mates

  4. Dorothy Bulling 4

    With the party behind him as Bridges claims in this article, he should develop very quickly, eyes in the back of his head, or he might be the victim of an ‘et tu, Brute’ moment.

  5. Clive Macann 5

    ” We’re the most popularly supported political party in New Zealand under my leadership,” says Simon. TRUE. But you are the “only” political party in New Zealand under your leadership. If leadership is what you want to call it.

  6. ankerawshark 6

    He’s toast…………………………

  7. Treetop 7

    I wonder who they have lined up.

    I find that Bridges admits that National dropped the ball once Labour has a smarter or better fix than National had. Then Bridges says he is now the leader which I take to mean he can do better than the previous leader/leaders

    Remind me English left of his own choosing, yeah right!

    Labour had leadership hiccups and now National have the hiccups.

  8. Tricledrown 8

    Bridges is a Drone no charisma barks at every car.
    A boring nag.

  9. JessNZ 9

    We just got delivered a shiny paper newsletter from the local MP Simon O’Connor including a wee puff piece on Bridges as the new leader – will be amusingly awkward if Bridges is rolled before some people even get to read the news 🙂

  10. greywarshark 10

    The Standard is named this morning as being part of a leak against Shearer and partly responsible for him being brought down in Radionz discussion on Bridges rating in polls. This by Stephen Mills – and the other commenter is Trish Sherson.

    (Stephen Mills is the executive director of UMR Research and former political adviser to two Labour governments and
    Trish Sherson is from corporate affairs firm Sherson Willis, and a former ACT press secretary.)

  11. R.P Mcmurphy 11

    wackamole!
    hehehehe.

  12. Sacha 12

    What were the Nats hoping to find by extending their internal leak inquiry back to the time of English’s demise?

  13. ankerawshark 13

    Grey what was the leak against Shearer? That he was standing down?

    • Fireblade 14.1

      Newshub are just laughing at the National Party now. From the above link:

      Is it Judith Collins, the veteran rabble-rouser who would shift the party harder to the right?

      Or Mark Mitchell, the ex-private soldier who fought – and maybe killed – enemies in Iraq?

      Or do you think it’s time for Paula Bennett to finally make the leap from deputy to leader?

      Chris Bishop – could he be the first millennial Prime Minister?

      • Tricledrown 14.1.1

        Collins at 35% 3×+ anyone else in the contest.
        Bridges has got to be worried.
        The convoluted lame excuses and hiding Jamie Lee Ross away from interviews a cunning move.
        But new leaks undermine his spin.
        National used to to all their dirty laundry behind closed doors.
        Now it’s ugly and open.
        Collins is running out of time to take over leadership it’s now or never.
        Bennett is finished Bridges is holding on by his fingernails.

      • woodart 14.1.2

        follow the money…natz get big yen from china now…..

  14. ianmac 15

    Who would actually want the Leadership role for National just now?

    Sure National is high on the polls but not much hope of winning without a viable partner.
    Timing is everything for Leadership and remember Bridges won the leadership by popular Caucus vote. Same again?

  15. Here’s one for Soimon. Putting out fires with gasoline… from offshore drilling rigs, perhaps…

    And isn’t that Jaguar something else??- wow ! Magnificent !!!

    David Bowie – Cat People (Putting Out Fire) Music Video HQ – YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpdHMaccjw4

  16. Carolyn_Nth 17

    RNZ reporter has tweeted that Bridges is doing a stand up at 1pm to announce the leak enquiry results

    • Anne 17.1

      Yep. Just had a call from someone that TV1 will be be bringing it live. According to my source he will be naming the leaker bur we will wait and see…

      • Carolyn_Nth 17.1.1

        Whoa! Jamie Lee Ross has just gone on twitter to say Bridges will try to blame him – but he says, not me:

  17. Carolyn_Nth 18

    Jo Moir of RNZ, has just reported on comments to her from a Nat Party “insider” about Bridges amended election donation return. It’s all looking like a nothing to see here from the “insider”

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/368688/simon-bridges-amended-electoral-donation-return-insider-claims

    A spokesperson for the party declined to answer questions about the club but did attribute the donation error to the local Tauranga electoral committee.

    “In the process of preparing both the local candidate and party returns, as required by the Electoral Act, two donations were incorrectly attributed to Mr Bridges’ candidate return by the local Tauranga Electorate Committee,” a National Party spokesman said.

    “This error was discovered soon after lodging the candidate return, and the Electoral Commission was contacted immediately to seek advice.

    “Acting on that advice Mr Bridges’ candidate return was amended, and then re-submitted to the Electoral Commission for publication,” he said.

    It’s understood the Cathedral Club is a new name for the former Cabinet Clubs where local business people host MPs and pay to hear about their politics.

    Mr Bridges’ Facebook page shows a photo of him with Cubro Limited chief executive Logan Currie and company founder Lin Currie at the business in Tauranga in 2016.

  18. Carolyn_Nth 19

    An interesting twitter threat by Reed Fleming (images at the link):

    https://twitter.com/reedfleming/status/1051595597231181825

    This morning, @simonjbridges was asked if he knew the Currie brothers, who run the company Cubro which donated $14,000 to him which he then hid in National Party election returns. “Do you know the Currie brothers?” “Not at all” Here he is with Logan Currie opening his office:

    Then he was asked if the National Party received money from Exclusive Brethren. Cubro donated him $14,000. Cubro is run by Logan Currie – the same Logan Currie who is the Managing Director of One School Global – a Brethren School.

    Here he is, again, with Logan Currie. Remember this morning when asked if they knew each other Bridges said “not at all”.

    Westmouth is a school run by the Exclusive Brethren (side note: the school was involved in a tax battle between the Brethren and IRD in 2016). I’m sure it’s purely a coincidence that students from the Brethren School visited Cubro to make them smoothies:

    Spoiler: it’s not a coincidence. The CEO, the CFO, the Procurement Officer, the Business Development Manager and their Equipment Manager (and I’m sure others) all worked for, were on the management committee of, or attended Westmount School – the Exclusive Brethren’s school.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking money from the Exclusive Brethren, except… 1) Bridges exploited a loophole to hide the donation (see: https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/you-cant-have-it-both-ways …) 2) Bridges lied about not knowing donor 3) Bridges probably lied about not knowing their links to Church

    Now I have to go do some work, but while we are talking about that trainwreck interview on the AM Show and Simon Bridge’s donations… Someone should ask Bridges and David Farrar why this photo of a Cathedral Club meeting was deleted from KiwiBlog this morning.

  19. Carolyn_Nth 20

    Live on RNZ – JLR it is

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/368692/live-simon-bridges-talks-national-leak-inquiry

    Update: SB: “Suspension is an option”

  20. Dennis Frank 21

    Bridges just announced that the report author found “on the balance of probabilities” that Jamie Lee Ross was the leaker. Said he went with Paula to tell him that & notify him that the Nat caucus was meeting tomorrow to discuss the report finding. [RNZ news heard live]

  21. OnceWasTim 22

    But awwwwwe, ultimately Jamie-Lee has a noice we dimple chin going forwid.
    Soimun also apparently ‘evinced’ some other stuff in his press release as an all-together member of an opposition prosecuting its cause

    FARK me with a feather duster!
    Nu Zull
    Poltiks
    ………… and the state of what’s left of what is supposedly an ‘opposition’
    burp
    a supposed 4th Estate burp
    then a Jude,
    then a Bennett ffs!
    next next
    nek minik

    You’d think the battle against all this muppetry should be a breeze. It’s never been harder with all that’s left of the traditional institutions of a functioning democratic state.

    At least we aren’t Stray-ya

  22. mary_a 23

    When it was announced Jami-Lee Ross will be taking leave for health reasons, not so long ago, Simon Bridges was most adamant Ross’s leave had absolutely nothing to do with the inquiry into the leaking of his expenses!

    However that rather rushed claim has now been proven otherwise, according to today’s release of the results of the inquiry into the leak.

    And now we have JLR claiming it wasn’t him!

    This one is going to be interesting.

    • Treetop 23.1

      A timeline is good for establishing manipulation and strategy.

      I would like to know if Bridges had updates into who was the probable leader.

      JLR’s hand may reveal a stoush between him and Bridges over an unknown matter or a matter connected to the expenses which JLR knows was not included.

      There may be more than one leaker and JLR could be involved indirectly.

      I need to know other than the National caucus who had the details of Bridges expenses that were leaked. I would not exclude the expenses being more than what they are claimed to be.

  23. Tricledrown 24

    Jamie Lee Ross hung out to dry.
    The plot thickens.
    Siomon’s planking desperation more leaks time is running out sharks circling as Bridges support within National must drying up.
    Alienating one of his top young turks will have added fuel to the flames.
    JLR has friends in high places.
    Bridges doesn’t seem to understand that.
    National will not want a lame(excuses) duck leader going into the new year.
    A clean slate for the new year will give Judith Collins the leadership she can land blows and make them stick. The arrogant school boy will be history.

  24. Jimmy 25

    But who would want to lead National now!!!!!

  25. Macro 26

    I get the impression that within National’s ranks civil war is erupting.

  26. Kahu 27

    Once again National gets outed as a front for the Exclusive Brethren Cult which hides behind it’s status as a church to avoid paying taxes on it’s profit-making endeavours. If the National Party is not totally controlled by E.B. there is at a least a faction of the party operating as pointmen for the cult which have Simon Bridges as their appointed/anointed one and/or E.B. cultists have engaged in a ‘Trotskyist’-type entryism/infiltration of the Party. Some investigative reporter such as Nicky Hagar needs to do an in-depth analysis into the extent of EB ties/infiltration/membership of the party. Though the cult is small (but wealthy) nationally, I’m pretty sure you’d find a much larger % of EB as National Party members than their national % as a cult.

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